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And joyous news of heav'nly Infant's birth,
My Muse with Angels did divide to sing;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing,

5 In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light Soon swallow'd

in dark and long out-living night.

For now to forrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,
Which on our dearest Lord did seise ere long,
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so,

, Which he for us did freely undergo :

Most perfect Hero, try'd in heaviest plight
Of labors huge and hard, too hard for human wight!

He sov'ran Priest stooping his regal head,
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies;
O what a mask was there, what a disguise !





22. These latest scenes] So it is in cus Hieronymus Vida, who was a the second edition of 1673; in the native of Cremona, and alludes former of 1645 it is Thefe latter particularly to his poem, Chrifcenes.

ftiados Libri sex. And Mantua 26. Loud o'er the rest Cremona's the birth place of Virgil being near frump doth found;] He means Mar- to Cremona, Virg. Ěcl. IX. 28.


Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, A 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethrens fide.

IV. These latest fcenes confine my roving verse, * To this horizon is


Phæbus bound; His Godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, And former sufferings other where are found;- 25 Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound

Me fofter airs befit, and fofter strings Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things. .

V. Befriend me Night, best patronefs of grief, ** Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw, 30 And work


flatter'd fancy to belief, That Heav'n and Earth are color'd with my woe; My sorrows are too dark for day to know:

The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters where my tears have wash'd a wannish white.

35 See,


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Mine eye

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirld the Prophet up at Chebar flood,
My spirit some transporting Cherub feels,
To bear me where the tow'rs of Salem stood, 39
Once glorious tow'rs, now sunk in guiltless blood;

There doth my soul in holy vision sit
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

hath found that fad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of Heav'n's richest store,
And here though grief my feeble hands up

lock, 45 Yet on the soften'd


would I score My plaining verse as lively as before;

For fure so well instructed are my tears,
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

Or Lhould I thence hurried on viewless wing, 50
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove

and spring



37. That whirld the prophet up at the river Chebar, and was carried

Chebar flood,] As the prophet in the spirit to Jerusalem ; so the Ezekiel faw the vision of the four poet fancies himself transported to wheels and of the glory of God at the same place.

Would soon unbofom all their echoes mild,
And I (for grief is easily beguild)

Might think th'infection of my fortows loud 55 Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud. This subject the Author finding to be above the years

he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinish'd.


* On TIME.

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LY envious Time, till thou run out thy race,

Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours, Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace; And glut thyself with what thy womb devours, Which is no more than what is false and vain, 5 And merely mortal dross; So little is our loss, So little is thy gain. For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb’d, And last of all thy greedy felf consum’d,



* In these poems where no date is of Milton's own editions. And beprefix'd, and no circumstances direct fore this copy of verses, it appears us to ascertain the time when they from the Manuscript that the poet were compos’d, we follow the order had written To be set on a

D 2.

18. happya

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Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And Joy Thall overtake us as a flood,
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of him, t’ whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime,
Then all this earthy grosness quit,
Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever fit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee,

0 Time.



Upon the CIRCUMCISION. E Y haming Pow's, and winged Warriors bright

That erst with music, and triumphant song, First heard by happy watchful shepherds ear,


18. - happy-making fight,] The plain English of beatific vision.

Iuft law indeed, but more exceeding

love ! ] Virgil. Ecl. VIII. 49. Crudelis mater magis, an puer improbus ille?


15. O more exceeding love or law

more juft?

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